US stocks rise on solid February jobs report


Wall Street stocks rose early Friday following a solid US jobs report that bolstered expectations the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates next week.

US employers added a net 235,000 new positions in February, well above analyst forecasts, as unemployment dipped a tenth of a point to 4.7 percent. The Labor Department report also showed a 0.2 percent rise in average hourly earnings.

The jobs report "was strong on all key headline fronts" with better wage data "solidifying the prevailing belief that the Federal Reserve will raise" benchmark rates March 15, said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 20,901.63, up 0.2 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent to 2,372.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.4 percent to 5,860.87.

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) of large banks such as Citigroup (NYSE: C - news) and JPMorgan Chase (Swiss: JPM-USD.SW - news) rose on expectations of higher interest rates.

Analysts also cited higher oil prices as a boost for market sentiment. Petroleum-linked equities were mixed early Friday.

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